I started this because of a boy, but fuck a boy.
Fuck all the boys.
Not in a misandrist way, but…
I don’t know why I am the way that I am. I have always been this way and I have spent my life trying to navigate the world being like this.
When I was a kid I had serious separation anxiety. I remember when I was still too young for school, being home with just my mom. She went to get the mail, literally taking one step onto the front porch. She didn’t leave the property, she barely left the house, but she was out of my sight and I remember the panic that set in. I was all alone.
I used to hate going to the mall because it was big and there were so many people and I was afraid I’d get separated from my family and be lost forever.
One time we went to visit a relative in the hospital. She had just had a baby, so we were going to see them and I guess my nervousness was obvious because my mom tried to console me. “This is a good thing. It’s a baby. No one is sick. It’s not scary.” I didn’t care about that. The hospital was massive, with twisty hallways and so many different floors and it was in an area of town I wasn’t familiar with. If I got lost there was no way I’d be able to find my way home.
Eventually I taught myself not to be scared, not to worry about being lost and alone. It didn’t always work. When I was a teenager a friend and I were out shopping and she needed to pee so we went to the restroom. She was in the stall and I was standing by the sinks, waiting for her and I suddenly worried that somehow she had slipped out without me realizing it, so I asked her if she had a brush, knowing that she didn’t, but needing the reassurance of hearing her voice.
I went out to dinner with my first boyfriend. We ate a restaurant that didn’t accept credit cards, so he had to drive home to get cash, while I sat there alone and waited for him to come back. My heart pounded audibly, certain he had left me there and wasn’t coming back.
There is no reason for any of this. It would be easy to pin it on my parents’ divorce, my dad literally leaving the family, coming back only to leave again a few months later, until eventually he stayed away. Except this started before that. I was born this way and I don’t know why.
It would also be easy to define it as a fear of being alone, but it’s not that either. I enjoy being alone. Sometimes (most times?) I prefer it. If it were that it would be easy to get over. A little immersion therapy, going out by myself or staying home by myself, easing into it becoming the norm and thus comfortable.
I think this is born more out of my belief that I am incapable of taking care of myself. Left alone I will slowly waste away, or find myself in a situation where I am unable to defend myself. It comes from a lack of belief in my abilities to exist in this world on my own.
The result of this is that I cling to people. I clutch to them and hold on tight, waiting for the inevitable abandonment. I’ve learned to tamp it down. To not call or text when I want to, to skew the other way and keep people at a distance.
Even so, I always have my foundation people. The ones that I know will be there for me. The ones that hold me up, so that I can navigate this world, not alone. Sometimes these people are not good for me. I have stayed in relationships that should have ended years before, been friends with people who’ve only cared about me as long as I fed into their narcissism. I have put up with crap because the alternative has been more than I thought that could bear. Because I honestly believed that without them I would be incapable of existing.
And yet, when these people do leave my life, when I finally find the strength to walk away, as I always do, I find myself empowered instead of diminished. I find that I am more capable, more empowered than when they were there. I am the complete opposite of what I thought I would be without them. I don’t know how many times I need to learn this lesson before it sticks.
So, fuck a boy. Fuck all the boys I have attached myself to, stitched myself onto so tightly that separating from them felt like a physical pain. Fuck all the girls who have thought of me as lesser. Who worked my insecurities to build themselves up. Fuck the people that I have defined myself by. It’s time for me to start navigating this world on my own and proving that I am more than capable to do so.